Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d'être

Strong data and evidence are crucial to good decision making. All parts of society—governments, businesses and individuals—count on high-quality, timely and detailed statistics to make decisions. Among its many applications, statistical information is used to draw electoral boundaries, determine international tariffs, inform trade negotiations, analyze economic performance, select sites for schools and public transportation, and support immigration policies and programs. Census and economic statistics inform the calculations of the harmonized sales tax allocation and of transfer and equalization payments to the provinces. Furthermore, the agency's data are also used to inform education, health and justice programs at various levels of government.

Mandate and role

Statistics Canada produces data that help Canadians better understand their country—its population, resources, economy, society and culture. In Canada, providing official statistics is a federal responsibility. As Canada's central statistical office, Statistics Canada is legislated to serve this function for the whole of Canada and each of the provinces and territories. The agency also conducts a census of the population and a census of agriculture every five years, providing a detailed picture of Canadian society. Statistics Canada operates under the authority of the Statistics Act and is committed to protecting the confidentiality of the information with which it is entrusted.

The agency promotes the quality and coherence of Canada's statistics through collaboration with international organizations, federal departments and agencies, and the provinces and territories. As a member of the United Nations Statistical Commission, the agency endorses the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, which help define what constitutes a good system of official statistics and what role that system should play in national governments.

For more information on the agency's organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister's mandate letter.

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